OpenSSH Now Supports FIDO/U2F Security Keys

Feb 17, 2020

SSH users can now add FIDO/U2F to the list of supported multi-factor authentication tools.

OpenSSH is, by far, the single most popular tool for logging into remote servers and desktops. SSH logins are generally considered fairly safe, but not 100%. If you’re not satisfied with the out the box security offered by OpenSSH, you can always opt to go with SSH key authentication. If that’s not enough, there’s always 2 Factor Authentication, which would then require you to enter a PIN generated by an application such as OTPClient or Authy.

As of OpenSSH 8.2, there’s a newly supported option, FIDO/U2F security keys. What this means is that you can now use 2FA hardware keys (such as the Yubi Key) to authenticate your SSH login attempt.

2FA is often considered the easiest method of adding an additional layer of security to SSH logins. However, for many, Hardware Keys are considered the single most secure means of preventing hackers from brute-forcing your SSH passwords. To make things easy, the OpenSSH developers have made it possible to generate a FIDO token-backed key using the ssh-keygen command. So anyone used to creating SSH keys shouldn’t have any problem getting up to speed with integrating hardware keys into SSH.

To gain this feature, make sure you’ve upgraded to the latest OpenSSH release (8.2 or newer).

Original news release: http://www.openssh.com/txt/release-8.2

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